Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Fanboys Movie Poster Image
The Force isn't with crude story of fandom and friendship.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's a message about friendship hiding here (the lead characters are willing to do anything for a terminally ill friend), but it's overshadowed by plenty of iffy stuff. On the up side, a real, sincere relationship blossoms between two of the leads -- in contrast to less meaningful dalliances and attractions -- but women are also fairly marginalized characters overall.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Charcters partipcate in a break-in (it's well-intentioned, but...), and there's lots of bathroom humor.


Comedic scuffling and flailing, mostly ineffectual and inept. Some mock-martial arts action and weapons violence (quarterstaff combat, science-fiction replica weapons), all for comedic effect. A man is hurled from a van; a van drives toward people on foot.


Nude buttocks, both male and female, are shown as passersby are "mooned"; other implied nudity. Sexual situations (kissing, etc) -- both in the context of a relationship and with young women who turn out to be escorts. A young man meets face-to-face with his "cyber girlfriend," only to discoverthat she's approximately 10 years old ("I'm a pedophile," he shrieks). Many digressions about sex, sex acts, sexual conduct, and sexual prowess. A gay bar is depicted as a den of iniquity. A joke revolves around male homosexual prostitution.


Lots of strong language, including "f--k," "bitches," "fag" (as an insult), "s--t," "Jesus Murphy" (as an exclamation), "cornhole," "man package," "penis," "dickhead," "a--hole," "pimp-slap," "whores," "dips--t," and much, much more. "The finger" is given.


The entire film revolves around a group's quest to see Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace prior to its release; the movie is a constant series of references to the fantasy-world myths and real-world genesis of the Star Wars saga. Other brands mentioned or shown include Star Trek; iPhone; Palm Pilot; The Rocketeer; Top Gun; Paramount/Viacom; Lucasfilm; Six Days, Seven Nights; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Batman; Priceline; and many more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer and hard liquor to excess; scenes take place in bars. Characters smoke cigars and cigarettes and are given Peyote-laced guacamole; a terminally ill character is given a large amount of Peyote. Prescription drugs are administered by a physician.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Star Wars-centered comedy really pushes the limits for PG-13, with lots of swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), drinking, smoking, and sexual content (particularly discussions of sex and sex acts, though naked butts are also shown). That said, under all the rude and crude comedy is a message about friendship and believing in something.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant and 7-year-old Written byMommaZ January 13, 2011
I guess I used to be a "fangirl" and I really enjoyed this in an adolescent way - but I would NEVER let my kids see it!! Rude, crude, ridiculous and... Continue reading
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byJenoi January 8, 2010

Too crude for tweens.

My son is 11 and a huge Star Wars fan, I thought he might get a kick out of this. Fortunately I viewed it first and decided it wasn't age-appropriate for... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviewannabe December 22, 2012

This is intriguing

Fanboys pushed the limits for a PG-13? That's a first. Maybe the MPAA felt that this film didn't have enough "non-child friendly" content fo... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byL.Ferguson March 5, 2012

love it!

I liked this movie it was funny and original, it's especially funny if you like star wars. but there were still some rude scene's. but I don't re... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1998, with the long-awaited Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace still a year from release, three friends obsess about how much they're looking forward to the film. At first, Eric (Sam Huntington), who "outgrew" Star Wars and his friends long ago, mocks their passion. But then Hutch (Dan Fogler) and Windows (Jay Baruchel) explain that Linus (Christopher Marquette), Eric's oldest friend, has cancer and won't survive until the film debuts. Inspired, Eric joins the other three in an ill-thought-out plan to drive from Ohio to California, break into the Lucasfilm compound, and steal the film so Linus can see it before he dies.

Is it any good?

Featuring plenty of in jokes and cameos (Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher both appear), FANBOYS is, like the behavior it chronicles, a triumph of passion over judgment. The idea of anyone being excited by the prospect of seeing Phantom Meance now kind of seems like a joke, and director Kyle Newman has minimal interest in asking his actors to actually shape a scene or portray an authentic character (that Marquette and Huntington are believable as separated old friends says more about their charm and skill than it does about the script).

Fanboys has a certain amount of kindness under the surface, but that surface is studded with bathroom humor, unfunny gags, cruel caricatures, and a boys' club attitude that makes women irrelevant (with the exception of Kristen Bell's just-one-of-the-dudes nerdy-hottie, who gets to realize her crush on one of the four -- which is in itself a weird, sexist form of wish fulfillment). Newman seems to be inspired by the pop culture zing and crude zest of Kevin Smith; hard as it is to imagine, Newman could take lessons from the smarts and heart Smith has hidden under the swearing and name-checking in his best scripts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why they think this movie was rated PG-13 instead of R. Does it seem that different from other crude comedies that did earn R ratings? If so, how? 

  • Discuss the overall cultural impact -- for good and for ill -- of Star Wars.

  • How have George Lucas' films changed how we watch movies? How have they affected what kids of movies get made?

  • What happens when someone's love for a piece of pop culture goes a little too far?

Movie details

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